Guest post from Kelly of KellyWiggains.com
How do you make frugal meals if you can’t use beans?
When I first started menu planning, shopping sales at the grocery store, and learning about the grocery game, every single site, every blog post, every sample menu plan featured beans — and for good reason. Beans are incredibly healthy, incredibly cheap, and incredibly versatile.
One problem: My husband hates beans. He says eating beans is like eating “little packages of dirt.”
I’ve tried every variety, texture, and flavor combination in the bean repertoire, and I’ve yet to change his mind. So I’ve finally figured out ways I can still have a frugal budget and avoid serving beans to my husband.
1. Beans at Lunch
My husband may not like beans, but my boys and I love them (unfortunately, my daughter stands firm in the anti-bean club). I often make bean-and-cheese burritos, nachos, or beans and rice for lunch. I love making a huge batch of refried beans in the crockpot (using this recipe) and portioning the beans into freezer bags.
2. Add Beans Last
Anytime I make something requiring beans, I figure out a way to include the beans as an option. Mexican Stack-Up, Taco Salad, Chili, Build Your Own Burritos/Fajitas/Chalupas — these are all cheap and tasty meals, and I can make my kids’ plates heavy on the beans and my husband’s heavy on everything else.
3. Double the Rice
The second half of the beans-and-rice budget doesn’t have to play second fiddle. My husband loves rice, and I find ways to use rice as much as I can.
4. Blended Black Beans
I’ve added pureed black beans to our favorite brown bag burritos. My husband noticed the flavor, but he didn’t mind it as much as usual. If you have a bean-hater in your family, see if you can sneak some blended ones into your burrito filling.
I would also encourage you to find other frugal meals that make your family happy. My husband happily eats the following:
1. Roasted Chicken
I can get a whole chicken on sale for under a dollar a pound. My family loves roasted chicken as well as chicken salad, quesadillas, chicken and rice, and chicken tacos from the leftovers.
2. Breakfast for Dinner
One of our standbys — we usually make pancakes or waffles with a side of scrambled eggs and sometimes sausage or bacon when it’s on sale.
3. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Though my husband gets funny looks in the teachers’ lounge, one of his standard lunches includes 2 hard-boiled eggs, a hunk of cheddar cheese, an apple or pear, and some saltine crackers. Eggs are a super simple and healthy protein alternative for the bean-hater.
4. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches on Homemade Rolls
I buy bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for about 99 cents a pound on sale. I can make these into boneless skinless chicken breasts using this method, or I can remove the skin from one breast and cook it in a crockpot with BBQ sauce. I shred the meat with two forks. I make up some of these 40 Minute Dinner Rolls, and we have a tasty and frugal meal using only one big chicken breast for my family of 5.
5. Chicken-Fried Rice
For this classic skillet meal, I use leftover rice, leftover chicken, a bag of frozen veggies, an egg and some soy sauce. My husband loves it!
Do you have a bean-hater in your family? If so, how do you still eat on a beans-and-rice budget?
Kelly blogs about everything from Literature to Living. An English teacher by trade, Kelly left the classroom a few years ago, but she still tries to convince those around her to read and write. She loves to connect her reading to the real world around her. Her blog is a place for book lovers and book skeptics alike, offering concise book recommendations, tips for reluctant readers, along with stories and observations about her life. Kelly writes at kellywiggains.com.